When I first listened to this back in the day, I don`t think I really appreciated it. I was always more intrigued by Neil`s work that came from the ditch, and this was a little polished; maybe I was missing the sloppy support of the redoubtable Crazy Horse, who always seemed to be playing on my favourite Young albums (such as Weld, or Zuma).
Well, time has been kind. Bookended by contrasting versions of probably Neil Young`s most radio-friendly song, "Rockin` In The Free World", it is easy to miss the great songs inbetween. "Crime In The City" is an epic, with brilliant lyrics describing aspects of society in meltdown and has always been an absolute joy to me, despite its nine minutes plus length. "Don`t Cry" is one song that I have really learnt to love now though, and showcases probably the first time Young employs the thunderous, crushing distorted power that grabbed my interest on "Weld". This power pops up on "Eldorado" too, contrasting with the light Spanish guitar that plays throughout. "No More" and "Too Far Gone" are great songs too, hammering home the album theme that too much Freedom seems to have negative consequences for many; drugs, homelessness and violence seem to lurk menacingly behind many songs. "Hangin` On A Limb" emphasises the fragile nature of happiness and success.
If I had to pick some weak points, then "The Ways of Love" would be one, for sure, but even "Someday" and "On Broadway" can work on the right day, which is one of the great strengths of the album - "Freedom" contains so many different styles of song. Overall, the many high points are plenty good enough to warrant a solid five stars.